South Korean steel maker Posco is likely to start work on its much-delayed steel unit in Odisha within a year as the state has transfered a significant chunk of land required for the mega project to the firm, a senior government official said on Thursday.
"I think, they (Posco) should start (work on the unit) in a year or so," U P Singh, Joint Secretary in Steel Ministry, told reporters on the sidelines of 'India Steel-2013' summit organised by industry body Ficci in Mumbai.
The Odisha government has already transfered around 1,700 acres to the company out of the 2,700 acres required for the plant in Jagatsinghpur district, he said.
The Korean major, which is not able to set up the unit for the past seven years because of land acquisition issues and agitation by the locals, has revised its land requirement to 2,700 acres from the earlier 4,000 acres.
It has also scaled down its production plan to 8 million tonnes in the first phase from 12 million tonne earlier.
Referring to the issues faced by steel companies in getting approvals, Singh said the Cabinet Committee on Investment is taking up large projects, stalled due to various reasons, and it will soon take up issues relating to SAIL's proposed project in Jharkhand to expedite the process.
To a question related to appointment of a mine developer and operator by SAIL for its open cast coking coal mine in Tasra, Jharkhand, he said Lanco Infratech is likely to get the approval to work as an operator for the project.
The Joint Secretary said divestment in state-run Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd would take place when capital market situation improves.
On the issue of steel imports of around 7 MT last fiscal, Singh said there is no cause for worry as the situation is not different from previous years.
He said iron ore supply, affected by interim ban on mining, is likely to improve in the near future.
"After a recent Supreme Court order, nine category-A mines had reopened in Karnataka. Some category B-mines are also likely to open soon.
"Things are also improving in Odisha," he said, adding the government is curbing export of iron ore to conserve it for future use.